Chinese diplomats must get approval to visit US universities or meet local government officials

Chinese diplomats must get approval to visit US universities or meet local government officials

  • The new requirements are a ‘direct response to the excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats’ by China, says the US secretary of state
  • New rules require China’s embassy and consulates to seek permission before hosting events outside their properties with an audience larger than 50 people

Senior Chinese diplomats based in the US will now be required to seek permission before meeting with local government officials or visiting university campuses, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday, the latest back-and-forth retaliatory action between the State Department and China’s foreign ministry amid worsening US-China relations.

“These new requirements on PRC [People’s Republic of China] diplomats are a direct response to the excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats by the PRC, and they aim to provide further transparency on the practices of the PRC government,” Pompeo said.

“Should the PRC eliminate the restrictions imposed on US diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate.”

Last October, the State Department implemented a requirement that Chinese diplomats must inform the State Department of their meetings with colleges or local officials. They were not required to seek permission first, however – a barrier that Pompeo said unfairly burdened American diplomats in China.

“PRC authorities implement a system of opaque approval processes designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business and connecting with the Chinese people,” Pompeo said.

“US diplomats’ attempts to host cultural events, secure official meetings, and visit university campuses are regularly obstructed,” he added.

The new rules announced on Wednesday also require China’s embassy and consulates to seek permission before hosting “cultural events” outside their properties with an audience larger than 50 people.